Monday, January 26, 2009

Some Monday musings...

Bringing home economic hard times---Home Depot to cut jobs:
"Home Depot Inc. plans to eliminate 7,000 jobs while closing four dozen stores under its smaller home improvement brands as the recession continues to batter the nation's housing market. Its shares climbed more than 5 percent in morning trading."
You always have the impression that a company like that is in a strong economic position. But this recession is affecting everyone.

President Obama today says he wants the government to get busy working on new fuel-efficiency guidelines for the auto industry:
"Jumping into the seemingly never-ending national energy debate, Obama also directed his administration to get moving on new fuel-efficiency guidelines for the auto industry in time to cover 2011 model-year cars. "For the sake of our security, our economy and our planet, we must have the courage and commitment to change," Obama said in his first formal event in the ornate East Room of the White House. "It will be the policy of my administration," he said, "to reverse our dependence on foreign oil while building a new energy economy that will create millions of jobs."
Well, Mr. Obama says that--and I saw him just a bit ago, on TV, say that he doesn't, in these hard economic times, want to burden the auto industry with new costs. But the fact is, he will. New regulations will cost the auto industry money. They always do. Compliance costs money and time; and the president saying he doesn't wish to do it doesn't negate the fact that he's will do so. Conservatives should be sure and emphasize that point.

Things haven't been going that well for my favorite teams lately. That happens sometimes in a season; you have low points, and a team can either get up, dust itself off, and get going again, or...crash. But on Saturday, the ND men's hoops team lost again to UConn, 69-61. Their problems have been many--prior to Saturday, the Irish weren't defending well. On Saturday, their defense was fine, but they couldn't make shots. Luckily they have another shot tonight to get things right and, perhaps, psychologically get out of this hole, against league-leader Marquette.

Meanwhile the Irish women's hoops team let Villanova's slow, deliberate style frustrate them, and lost on the road 55-48.
They too, however, have a chance to start a new winning streak with a win over Rutgers tomorrow; a win that could help them psychologically as well.

The Detroit Pistons lost, too, 108-105 to Houston; their defense was horrible, allowing the Rockets to shoot at a 71% clip in the first quarter.

Only Michigan State's men's hoops team saved the day for Michigan sports fans, as they won a big game on the road at Ohio State, 78-67. What made the win especially impressive was that the Spartans trailed by 10 in the first half, and had 3 starters miss significant time in the game either due to sickness or being benched for violations of team rules. A big win--this could still be a final four team.

By the way, do you think President Obama's $800 billion plus proposed stimulus bill means big government? If you do, you'd be right:
"In its present form, the bill, which contemplates spending about $825 billion, runs to 940 pages. That comes to about $877 million per page.

More evidence for a point we've made here before--we're not yet, not by a long shot, in a depression. Our economic situation right now, while not good, might not even be the serious "crisis" that some are trumpeting. John Stossel recently explained further:
"But people are losing their jobs! President Obama frets that "the unemployment rate could reach double digits." Yes, that would be bad, but in the recession of '82, it reached 10.8 percent. Yet no one even remembers the "crisis" of '82. Today's 7.2 percent unemployment rate is higher than we've grown used to, but we've experienced that rate 16 times over the past 35 years. And it pales in comparison to the 25 percent rate of the Depression era."